Dubai: Police have arrested three men who used forged ATM cards to withdraw money from ATM machines.

Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation teams arrested two Indians and one Malaysian who possessed 1,778 forged ATM cards.

The suspects had fed the magnetic strips of the cards with account numbers registered for customers in banks of a European country. The suspects then used the cards to withdraw money from cash machines here. Police said the local banks were the biggest losers in this process because the owners of the account numbers did not exist in the UAE.

Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Director of Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said the number of cards is the biggest caught by the CID team.

The scam emerged when a bank employee realised that accounts from outside the country were being used and the money was withdrawn from local ATM machines. The withdrawn amount from that machine amounted to Dh26,000.

The CID department followed up and monitored a number of bank branches and coordinated with some banks' employees to follow up the status of those account numbers during the daily withdrawal operations.


On February 26, 2008, a man was monitored withdrawing money from one of the ATMs. Police arrested him immediately and found 15 plastic cards on him. Checking the cards, it turned out that they had forged numbers fed into them.

On the same day, the investigation team raided the residence of the rest of the gang based on the confessions of a second suspect. The team arrested the Malaysian suspect who was the mastermind behind the operation. The team also arrested the third suspect who was with the Malaysian suspect and possessed 1,778 forged cards with magnetic strips that had account numbers from banks outside the UAE.

The team also seized a number of laptops which carried secret account numbers in addition to a number of electronic devices and mobile phones which were bought with the withdrawn amounts. Police also seized devices that were being used to print information and numbers on magnetic strips and mini cameras used to steal secret numbers.

Major General Al Mazeina said the department had previously caught many cases of forged cards being used by Malaysian and European suspects, who stole account numbers from their countries to use here to withdraw money. However, this number of cards is the biggest number caught by the CID team.

He thanked the banks' employees and personnel responsible for feeding the cash machines for their attentiveness and cooperation with CID teams to combat such crimes.